A British farmer has developed the first GM tomato genetically modified with the gene that causes skin cancer.
The tomato is being marketed as “super-virgin” and will be sold in the US.
David Leal said he had tested his tomato to be sure it did not contain a harmful gene, and that the results of the test were “really exciting”.
“I had tested the tomato and found it to be the same as what we have already done,” he said.
“The tomato has been modified to contain a gene that is known to cause skin cancer.”
Mr Leal, who has been cultivating tomatoes for 30 years, said the tomato was genetically engineered to contain the gene for a protein that is also found in other types of tomatoes, such as red, yellow and purple varieties.
He said he hoped to sell the tomato commercially in the coming years.
Mr Leal’s tomato was first sold in Australia in February.
It is now available to the public in the UK, and is currently being tested in the Netherlands and Denmark.
The European Union requires that all tomatoes grown in the EU must be genetically modified to be produced in line with EU law.
The UK Government says the tomato will be grown in areas with high levels of genetically modified plant material, such a wheat crop or milk, and will not be grown without it.
He said the company he had been working with to develop the tomato had received funding from a European seed company.
“I’m really excited about it,” he told the BBC.
“It will allow us to continue producing tomatoes that are really nutritious.”
The tomato is currently sold in Italy, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Austria.
The company says it will begin production in the United States in the second half of this year.
A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “This is the first successful GM tomato that has been grown without any harmful gene and will continue to be grown as planned.”
We are confident that our GM tomato is safe for commercial use and will deliver high yields for farmers in areas where GM crops are already planted.
“More: The European Union is considering allowing the use of genetically engineered plants in areas such as dairy farming to help boost food security.
It has already approved GM maize in Spain, and the Netherlands.
More to come.